A Not-So-Stable Kingdom (2 Samuel 20)
1. The Instability of infuriation
1 Now there happened to be there a worthless man, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjaminite. And he blew the trumpet and said, “We have no portion in David, and we have no inheritance in the son of Jesse; every man to his tents, O Israel!”
2 So all the men of Israel withdrew from David and followed Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah followed their king steadfastly from the Jordan to Jerusalem. 2 Samuel 19:40-20:1-2 (ESV)
· First of all, Israel accused Judah of bad intentions.
· Secondly, Judah replied defensively rather than humbly.
· Thirdly, the men of Israel heightened their sense of offence.
· Fourthly, we are told that Judah responded with greater harshness still.
· Finally and almost inevitably, the dispute escalated into open warfare when a man named Sheba—'a troublemaker' —raised rebellion among the men of the ten tribes (20:1-2).
Matthew 12:25; Ephesians 4:1-3
Interlude: 2 Samuel 20:3
The concubines were a living testimony both to David’s sin and God's mercy.
2. The Instability of Insubordination
9 And Joab said to Amasa, “Is it well with you, my brother?” And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10 But Amasa did not observe the sword that was in Joab’s hand. So Joab struck him with it in the stomach and spilled his entrails to the ground without striking a second blow, and he died. Then Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri. 11 And one of Joab’s young men took his stand by Amasa and said, “Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab.” 2 Samuel 20:4-13 (ESV); Proverbs 14:35
Joab is an example of one who acknowledges the king’s sovereignty but yet disregards his will. Matthew 7:21
3. The Instability of Impulsiveness
16 Then a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab, ‘Come here, that I may speak to you.’” 17 And he came near her, and the woman said, “Are you Joab?” He answered, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your servant.” And he answered, “I am listening.” 18 Then she said, “They used to say in former times, ‘Let them but ask counsel at Abel,’ and so they settled a matter. 19 I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the heritage of the LORD?” 20 Joab answered, “Far be it from me, far be it, that I should swallow up or destroy! 21 That is not true. But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, called Sheba the son of Bichri, has lifted up his hand against King David. Give up him alone, and I will withdraw from the city.” And the woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall.” 2 Samuel 20:14-22 (ESV)
The wise woman’s words bring reflective insight into Joab’s somewhat emotional plan of action. Proverbs 5:23; Proverbs 14:15
Interlude: 2 Samuel 20:23-26 vs. 2 Samuel 8:15-18
With righteousness and unity comes stability.